Wildlife trust appeals to PM over dwindling wild flowers

MANY wild plants and animals could disappear from Dorset’s landscape if Prime Minister David Cameron fails to prioritise the environment, claims the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

The Government is set to announce how much money will be available to farmers from the Common Agricultural Policy.

Dorset Wildlife Trust recommends that this money should be spent on a rural environment that supports a wildlife-rich farmed landscape where hedgerows, clean rivers and wild plants and animals co-exist with sustainable food production.

Debbie Watkins of Dorset Wildlife Trust said: “The Rural Development programme supports our precious wildlife and landscape, and the rural economy brings benefits to our health and well-being.

“The question on everybody’s minds is how much money will be transferred from direct payments to the Rural Development Programme for environmental land management practices.

“The maximum that can be transferred is 15 per cent, with some favouring less, describing it as an increase towards environmental payments and suggesting that this would be a tax on English farmers.

“Quite simply this should not be described as an increase in funding as it will in real terms amount to a reduction in available funding.

“Nor should this be described as a tax on farmers as many farmers are in receipt of such funds through environmental stewardship schemes.”

The average family in Dorset pays about £400 a year towards the Common Agricultural Policy.

The recent State of Nature report revealed that 60 per cent of the species studied have declined over the decades and more than one in ten of all species are under threat.

Ms Watkins added: “It is now vital that David Cameron commits to transferring 15 per cent of the direct payment budget if the state of nature in Dorset is to improve, and to support those farmers who ensure their farms not only produce quality food but also a healthy countryside.”

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